AFL Beat 2018 Round 14

This week, while we were all watching the Germany-Sweden game in the World Cup, TWBS brought up a very good point about the timing of the game.  Essentially, the fútbol game ended after 97 minutes when the ref had previously only given 5 additional minutes after the standard 90.  Yes, there was a goal scored in stoppage time and that was the reason for the added time, but the subjectivity of the time added and the lack of knowledge of exactly how much time is left was not only aggravating, but it could easily make for conspiracy theories of refs adding more time than necessary to “help” a team.

Enter the AFL and why it continues to be the best-run league in the world.

AFL uses a running clock, like soccer, with 20 minute quarters.  Like soccer, the time elapsed is shown on the scoreboard in the stadiums.  Also like soccer, the sport experiences stoppages in play due to injuries or other circumstances.  Here is what AFL does, though, that makes the system work so much better than soccer yet maintains the drama at the end of a half/game:

There is a central timekeeper in each AFL stadium that starts and stops the official clock.  The timekeeper is also in charge of the siren, which signals the end of a quarter, half, or game. When the umpire stops play for a score, injury, the blood rule, to award a 50-metre penalty or to reset play for a mark or free kick, the umpire raises one hand above the head and blows the whistle. This tells the timekeeper to stop his clock and stop counting down playing time. When the umpire again raises the hand and blows the whistle or when the ball is bounced or thrown in, the timekeeper starts the clock again.

The timekeeper’s twenty-minute count-down clock is not displayed at the game. Rather, a count-up clock is displayed, which is never stopped. As such, fans and players never know exactly when the siren is going to sound, which makes close games particularly tense. Typically, a twenty-minute quarter will last between 27 and 33 minutes; the time period between the 20 minute mark and the siren is referred to as time on. The coaches’ boxes and television networks are provided with a feed to the timekeeper’s count-down clock.

The information is then relayed down to the players via “runners”, which are members of the coaching team that are allowed on the field during play.  The players, thus, have a rough idea of the time left, but not exactly.  At all times, though, the audience knows how much time is left, which takes away any conspiracy theories and minimizes time-wasting.

Reason # 9234 AFL is the best-run sport in the world.

On another occasion, I will talk about the rule where the players must hand the ball directly to the opponent after a foul has been called on them.  If they don’t, that results in a 50-meter penalty and an added advantage to the opponent.  Does this effectively eliminate time-wasting?  You bet your ass it does!

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

Round 14

Another thing that makes AFL great is that you never get a Round where every game is predictable.  Going into this Round, the prevailing wisdom was that West Coast would make easy work of the Essendon Bombers, specially considering that the game was being played in Perth. Not only did the Bombers win, they did so handily, by a score of 80-52.  Highlights:

The next night, Australian Friday Night, had the second Prime Time game in a row for the Port Adelaide Power at home.  This time, they faced the Melbourne Demons but the result was the same:  A convincing victory that puts them right back in the finals conversation and makes you think maybe they can hang with the good teams.  Or maybe Melbourne aren’t really that good?  Judge for yourself, here are the highlights:

So, after a long week of waking up super early to watch the World Cup games and then going in to work, I was a little hesitant to watch the Hawthorn Hawks take on the Gold Coast Suns in Tasmania on North American Friday night as I figured it would be a blowout.  I tuned in anyway and was surprised to see Gold Coast jump out to a two goal lead.  Alas, that barely lasted a quarter as the Hawks regained the momentum at the end of the first with a late goal against the run of play and went on from there to take over the game.  The final score was 96-43 and I can safely say I saw the most competitive part of the game.  Highlights:

Later that night, the GWS Giants traveled to Brisbane to take on the Lions in what appeared to be a trap game for them.  The Giants desperately needed another win to stay within sight of the Eight.  They managed just that in holding down the home team and coming away from Queensland with the four points, 109-82.  Highlights:

As I noted above, sometimes the conventional wisdom is not correct.  The North Melbourne Kangaroos were expected to soundly beat the Western Bulldogs.  However, the Doggies didn’t get the memo.  They fought hard and kept it close until the very end.  Here is what happened in the last two minutes:

That’s a tough loss for the Doggies. Full game highlights:

In the last game of the Round,  Collingwood and Carlton met in a classic matchup and,  to give credit to Carlton,  it wasn’t the complete blowout everyone expected.

Yes,  Collingwood won,  but the final margin was only 20 points. Final score was 79-59 and here are your highlights:

Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?

1 Richmond Tigers 10 3 0 40 135.0
2 Sydney Swans 10 3 0 40 125.7
3 West Coast Eagles 10 3 0 40 123.9
4 Collingwood Magpies 9 4 0 36 119.4
5 Port Adelaide Power 9 4 0 36 113.9
6 Melbourne Demons 8 5 0 32 127.3
7 Geelong Cats 8 5 0 32 126.2
8 North Melbourne Kangaroos 8 5 0 32 117.0
9 Hawthorn Hawks 8 5 0 32 115.6
10 GWS Giants 7 5 1 30 113.7
11 Adelaide Crows 6 7 0 24 100.4
12 Essendon Bombers 6 7 0 24 93.2
13 Fremantle Dockers 6 7 0 24 88.7
14 Western Bulldogs 4 9 0 16 74.6
15 Gold Coast Suns 3 10 0 12 63.0
16 St. Kilda Saints 2 10 1 10 70.8
17 Brisbane Lions 1 12 0 4 78.4
18 Carlton Blues 1 12 0 4 62.7

The byes are done and everyone has played the same number of games. Things are super tight at the top with 13 teams vying for 8 spots.  The other 5 need to start planning for next year and figuring out where they will go on vacation.

Here is the Balls Graph (TM, but may be leasing it out to Brick soon although he’s kinda slacking…):

Download (PDF, 271KB)


Footy Tipping Contest

Here is where we are after Round 14:

P TIPPER Round Tips Round Margin TOTAL Tips TOTAL Margin
1 SonOfSpam 5 43 87 360
2 Sunrisesunrise 5 81 86 410
3 Spanky Datass 4 80 85 462
4 Litre_cola 5 28 81 347
5 WhyEaglesWhy 4 40 79 413
6 BALLS 5 54 79 423
7 Joliet Jake Delhomme 4 59 74 448
8 BFC 5 52 73 399
9 Dolph Ucker 4 47 73 566
10 JPF 5 31 69 (NICE!) 432
11 nomonkeyfun 3 28 64 396
12 Game Time Decision 4 60 62 487
13 blaxabbath 3 28 54 442
14 Sharkbait 3 28 52 485

It stays very tight at the top with only a couple of games separating the contenders while in the middle only margin provides separation. Game Time Decision continues moving up and will most likely overtake nomonkeyfun this week coming up. As you can see, we had three players not provide tips.  You know what that means!

I have no doubts this is real.



AFL Round 15

We are back to a full schedule of games with no more byes!  Here is the schedule for this week (all times Pacific):

Thursday, June 28, 2018

2:20 AM (Late Wednesday Night) – Richmond Tigers v Sydney Swans at the MCG

The Match of the Round comes early as two of the Top Two teams face off.  Remember that Sydney has played well away from home this year!

Friday, June 29, 2018

2:50 AM (Late Thursday Night) – Western Bulldogs v Geelong Cats at Marvel Stadium

Thanks to the World Cup, I’ll be able to watch most of this one!  I may go to work disappointed as Geelong has a horrible post-bye record in the last 9 years.

8:45 PM – Carlton Blues v Port Adelaide Power at the MCG

The season cannot end soon enough for the Blues.  Seriously,

11:35 PM  – Adelaide Crows v West Coast Eagles at Adelaide Oval

This one is a tricky one for the Crows as West Coast plays well in Adelaide and they will be smarting after losing at home this week.

Saturday,  June 30, 2018

2:25 AM (Late Friday Night) – Gold Coast Suns v Collingwood Magpies at Metricon Stadium

On the bright side, the Suns get another home game after being on the road much of the season.  On the not-so-bright side, they play the Pies.

2:25 AM (Late Friday Night) – GWS Giants v Hawthorn Hawks at Spotless Stadium

This is a hugely critical game for both teams.  They are currently on the fringes of the Eight and the winner will keep themselves in the chase. Looking at the remaining schedule, Hawthorn can afford a loss while GWS can’t.

8:10 PM – Melbourne Demons v St. Kilda Saints at the MCG

The Demons will probably bounce back after this week’s loss since it’s the Saints.  That still doesn’t mean they’re any good.

10:20 PM – Essendon Bombers v North Melbourne Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium

This is yet another game that means much more to one team than the other.  Essendon HAS TO win this game to stay in finals contention.

11:40 PM – Fremantle Dockers v Brisbane Lions at Optus Stadium

The Dockers should ride the home-field advantage to a nice win that keeps them on the fringes of finals contention.  Brisbane can’t continue to play well and lose.  At some point, they have to break out a win.


The byes are finally over and we finally have a pretty clear picture of where teams stand with the final third of the season remaining.  Please do remember that the first game starts on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, so make sure to put your Footy Tips in!

I leave you with a guy that has cracked me up the last few days.  I seriously went down a YouTube rabbithole watching his videos the other night and before I knew it, two hours had passed by.  Enjoy (fyi, he swears,  so put your earphones on in the office.):



International Member of the Geelong Cats and recovering Steelers fan. Likes Butts. And Balls. And Boobs. Pretty much anything that starts with the letter B. Preferably together.

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Saints can win this!!!


…which takes away any conspiracy theories and minimizes time-wasting.

I still say it would have been funnier if you’d just called me stupid.
Oh well. I hope the Cats rested up well this week. Time to beat some ass Down Under next week.

(Sydney can still go to hell)
((Fortunately, Hawthorn is already there))


Essendon was ON FIRE. They were up 50-1 at one point.